Archive for December 2nd, 2009

Science at home: Considering the “dino-chicken”

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

Jack Horner, the paleontologist famous for providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young, was recently interviewed on 60 Minutes about, among other things, creating a “dino-chicken.”

Horner, Curator of Paleontology at Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies and a MacArthur fellow, is know for supporting the controversial theory that Tyrannosaurus rex was a scavenger, not a hunter. Horner’s current projects are also stirring up the paleontology community, with discoveries and suggestions that are incredible and, to some people, impossible. Watch the interview, or read the transcript, and learn about how to determine the sex of dinosaurs, the possible discovery of real (non-fossilized) blood vessels inside fossilized dinosaur bones, and Horner’s plans to reverse evolve a chicken into a “dino-chicken.”

P.S. How cool is the idea that you can identify a fossil from a rock by licking it? I’m totally remembering that one for later…

This artist's illustration shows what the skeleton of a so-called "dinochicken" might look like. By working to reverse engineer a chicken embryo to have some of the traits of its dinosaur ancestors, paleontologists are hoping to create a part-chicken, part-dinosaur creature in the lab. Image from Discovery News.

December 2009

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